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Critical Dictionary on Borders, Cross-Border Cooperation and European Integration


Edited By Birte Wassenberg and Bernard Reitel

This Critical Dictionary on Borders, Cross-Border Cooperation and European Integration is the first encyclopaedia which combines two so far not well interconnected interdisciplinary research fields, i.e. Border Studies and European Studies. Organised in an alphabetical order, it contains 207 articles written by 115 authors from different countries and scientific disciplines which are accompanied by 58 maps. The articles deal with theory, terminology, concepts, actors, themes and spaces of neighbourhood relations at European borders and in borderlands of and around the European Union (EU). Taking into account a multi-scale perspective from the local to the global, the Critical Dictionary follows a combined historical-geographical approach and is co-directed by Birte Wassenberg and Bernard Reitel, with a large contribution of Jean Peyrony and Jean Rubio from the Mission opérationnelle transfrontalère (MOT), especially for the cartography. The Dictionary is also part of four Jean Monnet activities supported by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union for the period 2016-2022: two Jean Monnet projects on EU border regions (University Strasbourg), one Jean Monnet network (Frontem) and the Franco-German Jean Monnet excellence Center in Strasbourg, as well as the Jean Monnet Chair of Bernard Reitel on borders and European integration. Rather than being designed as an objective compilation of facts and figures, it should serve as a critical tool for discussion between researchers, students and practitioners working in the field of borders, cross-border cooperation and European Integration.

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Cross-Border Conurbations


In general, the relationship between the city and international borders is not immediately obvious given that the former often refers to centrality and attractiveness while the latter to separation and differentiation. Identifying what is a city is becoming increasingly difficult in a globalized world characterized by strong urban growth; however, the classic definition of a grouping of a large number of people engaged in various activities within a small space, remains valid today. The city is primarily a spatial and social object with a political dimension, whose density and diversity of population and activities are powerful markers. This seemingly coherent picture is, however, crossed by social borders ←213 | 214→which reveal a heterogeneous space characterized by inequalities and even tensions between the populations which live there. In this sense, all the agglomerations of the world are thus marked by unstable internal borders which divide and structure their spaces.

Cross-border conurbations constitute a singular category of urban spaces: they are groups which have morphological and/or functional continuity despite the presence of one or more international borders. Identifying their specificities requires returning to the territorial construction of the state and the relations that exist between it and cities as a political object. According to Max Weber, European cities are distinguished from cities in other regions of the world from the Middle Ages by their autonomy from territorial powers. From the 13th century onwards, the construction of states was characterized by a slow, irregular, but progressive subjugation...

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